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THE MALADY OF CHAUCERS SUMMONER AlthoughChaucers Summonerappears to stand in no awe of the Archdeaconscurse on account of his spiritualdegeneracy,he may well considerconsultinga doctor of medicineregardinghis aggravated physicaldisease. All symptomsindicatethat he is a dangerously sick man Says the poet: A Somnour was therwithus in thatplace, Thathaddea fyr-reed cherubinnes face, Forsawcefleem he was,witheyennarwe. As hoothe was,and lecherous, as a sparwe; Withscalledbrowesblake,andpiledberd; Ofhisvisagechildren wereaferd. Thernasquik-silver, ne brimstoon, litarge, ne oille of tartre ceruce Boras, noon, Ne oynement thatwoldeclenseand byte, That himmighte helpenofhiswhelkes whyte, Noroftheknobbessittinge on hischekes. Wel lovedhe garleek, and eeklekes, oynons, Andforto drinken strong wyn,reedas blood. If one mightput faithin the accuracyof Chaucers descriptionof the case, togetherwithhis suggestionof the possiblecauses and the cure of the ailment,and if a layman mightventureupon a

diagnosis,by the card, accordingto the medical lore of the Middle Ages, it would seem that the Summoneris afflicted witha speciesof morpheaknown as gutta rosacea, which has already been allowed to develop into that kind of leprosycalled alopicia. He who would seek to unravel the utter confusionof terms applied by the medieval medical writersto differentcontagious and non-contagiousskin diseases sets for himselfan impossible task. Each authorclassifiesand reclassifies, dividesonce and again, to suit his own pleasure, until we can scarcely distinguishpsora fromleuce,albaras frommelos,or impetigofrommorphea. Lanfrank 1 The Oxford Chaucer, ed. Skeat, [MODERN PHILOLOGY, May, 1922] Canterbury Tales, A, 623 ff. 395 396 WALTER CLYDE CURRY indeed attemptsto bringorderout of chaos, but his conclusionsare far fromsatisfactory. In spite of differences of opinion,however,I gather that morphea-by whatevername it may be designatedis a skin disease resultingfromthe presenceof certain

impurities in the blood, and that thereare fourspecies of it corresponding to the four natural humors of the body. That "cursed monk dan Constantyn,"whose work Chaucer must have known,2says: Morpheaest corruptiosanguinis,unde nutriturcutis corporis,siue estdigestiuae maculaintercutaneae defectio carnis. Cuiuscausauniversalis uirtutis.Que cum defecerit, sanguinem corrumpit, qui ad cutemueniens sit eius,alba fitmorphea.Si cholera, eam nutrit. Si autemphlegmatica nigraeritmorphea. Est autemmorpheatriplex,uel enimliuidicoloris, nascensde materiacholerica& sanguinea,uel nigranascensde sanguine salso. In quibustribusgeneribus uel alba,& estde phlegmate melancholico, non sanguis est minuendus,se oportetfortimedicaminepurgetur.3 Gilbertus Anglicus-Chaucers "Gilbertyn" (C.T, A, 434)-is a littlemore definitein his discussion"De morphea": Cause autem antecedentessunt iiij humores. Et que fit ex sanguine propinquiorest ad lepram. Unusquisque humorpropriumdat

coloremcuti et que estde sanguine estrubeicoloris. et que estde colereestcitrini coloris naturaliest albi et que de salso flegme est flauicoloris. et que de flegme coloris. et que de melancoliaest nigricoloris4 Now, I suspect that this type of morphea which is produced ex sanguineand which colors the face a livid red is none other than the gutta rosacea of various authors. Bartholomaeusde Glanvilla suggests as much: ofmeatand ofcorruption Morpheais speckesin ye skin,and commeth drink. And yt whichis leperin ye flesh,is Morpheain ye skin Also 1 Lanfranks Science of Cirurgie, EETS.OS, 102, pp. 193 ff. (Cf. also Cyrurgia parua Lanfranci, Venetiis, 1499, f. 182) Guy de Chauliac seems to be impatient withthe classification of skin diseases attempted by his fraternal enemy; see La Grande Chirvrgie, Gvy de Chavliac, ed. Nicaise, Paris, 1890, p 413, or Cyrvrgia Gvidonis de Cavliaco, Venetiis, 1499, f. 51, r 1 For further discussion of terminology among the Greeks, Arabians, Romans,

and others, see Seven Book8 of Paulus Aegineta,trans. Francis Adams, 11I, 1-35 passim, and Commentaries to sections 1 and 2 of Book IV; J. H Baas, The History of Medicine, pp. 313-15 This is Constantinus -Africanusof Carthage (1015-87) mentioned by Chaucer in his list of celebrated physicians (C. T, A, 433) and also in connection with a work called De coitu (C. T, E, 1807-11) The curious reader may verify Chaucers reference to the 2 De coitu by consulting Constantinus Opera, conquisita undique magno studio jam primum typis evulgata,Basileae, 1536. pp 306 ff 8 Op. cit, Lib VII, cap xviii, p 161 4 Gilbert Anglicus, Compendium medicine, Lugduni, 1510, f. clxx, v1 For a discussion of Gilberts life, see Handersons Gilbertus Anglicus, Medicene of the Thirteenth Century. THE MALADY OF CHAUCERS SUMMONER 397 offleme, and someis black,and commeth Morpheais white,and commeth ofCholeraor ofbloud. The and someis redand commeth ofMelancholia, and offleme, is hardto heale; and ye

ofMelancholia Morpheayt commeth commeth of bloud is more easie to heale. Morpheais uncurMorpheayt witha needelland bleedeth able,iftheskinofthefacebe pightandpricked thenit is curable. AndMorpheais all in theskinne, not,and ifit bleedeth differeth and Leprais bothin theflesh& in theskinne. Thisinfection but thatis calledGuttarosea,that infecteth the face littlefromthe infection and commeth ofgleamie, and cholarike withsmallandsoftpimples, bloudye, theskinneand theflesh. humours thatbee betweene And Bernardusde Gordon,whose account of morpheais similarto that of Bartholomew,leaves no doubt of the matter: "si sit de color sanguine et sit in facie appellabiturguttarosacea. Si fueritrubeus fuscusmaculosus,tune est de sanguine."2 Chaucers Summoner,who has such a "fyr-reedcherubinnesface" that children are afraid of him, appears to have been sufferingat firstmerely fromgutta rosacea, a skin disease betterknownto the earlyEnglish authorsas "sawcefleem." Still

furtherand more detailed descriptionsof this malady, togetherwith causes and remedies for effectinga cure, may be foundin almost everymedical workof any importancedatingfrom Chaucers time. Lanfranksays: Guttarosacea,Pat is a passiounPat turne bPeskynof a mannysface out of his propurcolour& makiPPe facereed. & Pis passiouncomepof is a good purgacioun Pat humourisbrent& abidipin Pe skyn,& herfore purgipsalthumours.3 Andrew Boorde, in a discussionof a "Sauceflewme Face" found in his Dietary,remarks: Guttarosaceabe the latinwordes. In Englysheit is nameda sauce fleumeface,whichis rednesabout the nose and the chekes,withsmall This impedyment doth . pymples;it is a preuyesigneofleprousnes. ofa manscomplexion comeofeuyldyet,and a hotelyuer,or disorderynge and greatsurfetynge.4 in his youth,late drynkynge, 1 Batman vpon Bartholme,London, 1582, pp. 114 ff This is an English translation, made in 1397, of Bartholomaeus de Glanvillas De proprietatibusrerum, composed in

1366; see the Basil Wditionof 1475, p. 63, for the foregoingpassage And fora discussion of the author, see Se Boyars article in Jour. Eng and Germ Philol, XIX, 168 ft 2 Bernardus de Gordon, Practica dicta Lilium medicinae, Lyons, 1491, sig. d5, vs This is Chaucers "Bernard" (C. T, A, 434), concerning whom see Hinckleys Notes on Chaucer, p. 35 Op. cit, p 190 4 Andrew Boordes Introductionand Dietary, ed. Furnivall, EETSES, 10, pp 101-2 398 WALTER CLYDE CURRY And a still fulleraccount is given by the later writers,Willan and Thomas Bateman, under the head of Acne rosacea, to which is appended the note, "This is the gutta rosea,or rosacea,of authors": in severalrespects fromthepreceding ThisformofAcnediffers species. thereis also a In additionto an eruptionof smallsuppurating tubercles, and an irregular granulated appearanceof theskinof that shiningredness, appearsfirstat partof thefacewhichis affected.The rednesscommonly theend of thenose,and afterwards

spreadsfrombothsidesofthenoseto the cheeks,the wholeof which,however,it seldomcovers. In the comand mencement it is not uniformly vivid; but is paler in the morning, readilyincreasedto an intensered afterdinner,or at any timeif a glass This speciesof Acneseldomoccursin of wineor spiritsbe taken. early life . ; in general it does not appear beforethe age of forty; use of but it maybe producedin any personby theconstantimmoderate wineand spiritous partoftheface,eventheforehead liquors. The greater in thesecases; but the nose especially and the chin,are oftenaffected At thisperiodoflife,too, becomestumid,and of a fieryredcolour. thecolourofAcnerosaceabecomesdarkerandmorelivid; andifsuppuration and do not takeplace in any of the tubercles, theyulcerateunfavorably, a assume healingdisposition.2 readily This is a ratheraccurate description,I take it, of the Summoners appearance in the earlier stages of his disease; but not even the mostviolentgutta rosacea can accountforhis "scalled

browesblake and piled berd," nor for his "narwe" eyes, nor for the "whelkes whyte" and the "knobbes" sittingon his cheeks. Evidently the "sawcefleem"has already developed, in the opinion of Chaucer,3 into that type of leprosywhichalso comes ex sanguine. In all the works of medical writersfromthe ancient Greeks, Romans, and Arabianson down to the authorswho may be said to have laid the foundationsof modernmedicine,the generalsigns of 1Willan and T. Bateman, A Practical Synopsis of Cutaneous Diseases, Philadelphia, 1818. The other species are Acne simplex (p 285), Acne punctata (p 291), Acne indurata (p. 292), which, with Acne rosacea, correspond to the four species of morphea, I suppose For a furtherdivision of the "genus guttarosea" into three species, see Erasmus Darwins Zoonomia, Boston, 1809, Class ii, 1, 4, 6; iv, 1, 2, 13, 14. 2 Willan and T. Bateman, op cit, pp 297-99 3 There is, of course, actually no relation between any of

these skin diseases and leprosy proper; Chaucer is merely followingthe medical opinion of his time. Cf Boorde, op. cit, p 101; Batman vpon Bartholome,p 63; Bateman, op cit, p 294, note; Cyrvrgia Rogerii, Venetiis, 1499, f. 225-or any history of medicine THE MALADY OF CHAUCERS 399 SUMMONER elephantiasisor leprosyare foundto be about the same. Bernardus de Gordon,no doubt followingthe earlierwriters,says: et grossisies suntista: Depilatiosuperciliorum eorum, Signainfallibilia dilationariumexterius;et coartatiointerius.cum rotunditas oculorum, et facielucidus difficultate anhelitus;et quasi si cumnaribusloqueretur, et terribilis mortificatam, aspectusfacieicum fixo vergensad fuscedinem intuitu. Signa oculta in principiosunt ista: colorfacieirubens et vox aliquo modo et incipitanhelitusimmutari, ad nigredenem vergens etc.2 raucescit, Bartholomaeusde Glanvilla agrees: est corrupta,oculi et palpebrecorrugantur, Caro in eis notabiliter nareset maximein leonina; angustiantur

aspectumhabentscintillantem vox raucaefficitur.3 contrahuntur; And John of Gaddesden-Chaucers "Gatesden" (C.T, A, 434)definitelyassociates the generalsigns with gutta rosacea: In thefirstplaceyoumustnoteiftheusualredcolorofthefacetends fromguttarosaceain hisnose towarda blackhue,and ifthepatientsuffers if he sweats much and his hair begins to get thinand sparse. color of the body tendstowardsblack, labouredbreathingand a anhelituset vocis) . a nasal tone of voice,thinness voice (strictura *. husky of the eyes,a greasinessof theskin, and fallingof the hair . rotunditas or face . .The etc.4 Even the general signs of elephantiasisagree, it will be observed, whichChaucerhas attributed characteristics withthephysiognomical to his Summoner. It must be observed,however,that the earlierof our modern writerson the science of medicinedescribethe elephantiasisof the Greeksas a speciesmerelyof lepra,of whichtheypresentfourkinds; namely, the elephantia, leonina, alopicia, and

tyria, each being associated with one of the various humors of the blood. This 1See Seven Books, trans. Adams: Actuarius, II, 11; Avicenna (Chaucers "Avicen," C.T, A, 432), II, 12; Serapion (Chaucers "Serapion," A, 432), II, 13 Cf Haly filius Abbas, Liber totius medicine,Lyons, 1523, Lib. VIII, cap xv 2 Op. cit, cap xxii 3 Op. cit, p 64 4 Ioannes de Gadesden, .Rosa Anglica practica medicinae, Pavia, 1492, car. 56, r1 I quote from a translation of this passage found in Cholmeleys John of Gaddesden and the Rosa Medicinae, pp. 45-46 400 WALTER CLYDE CURRY arrangementdates first from Alsaharavius.1 For example, as Bartholomaeushas it: as thefourehumours wiseLeprais diuerse, be passingly In fouremanner of pureMelancholia, medled. One mannerLepra commeth and diuersely & haththatnameof theElephant,thatis a full and is calledElephancia, For thiseuillgrieueth & noieththepatientpassing and beast great large. and sore. Therefore thiseuillis

morehardeand fast,andworseto strongly ofmelancholy and offleme, healethenother. The secondcommeth and is called Tiria,or Serpintina;and hathyt nameof an adderthatis called his skinand his scale,so he that Tirus. For as an Adderleauethlightlye hath thismannerLepra is oft striptand pilledand fullof scales. The of melancholy, thirdmannerof Lepra commeth of bloud,and is infecting The Foxe hatha propertie, calledAlopicia,and Vulpina. thathis hairefallethin Summerforheatofbloudin theliuer; so ofthishairethat haththiseuillfallethfromthebrowes,and fromotherplaces. The fourth of redCholera,corrupt in themembers mannerLeperhoodcommeth with is and called Leonina.2 melancholy, Now, in our discussionof the Summonerwe are evidentlyconcerned only with the thirdspecies,alopicia, whichis a disease of the flesh growingout of an infectionof the blood, just as we found gutta rosacea to be that kind of morphea which develops ex sanguine. Arnoldus de Villanova-Chaucers "Arnold of the Newe Toun"

(C.T, G, 1428)-describes it at considerablelength: Allopiciaestspecieslepre,que sitex sanguineadjusto. etin istaspecie toto depillantur hoc dicituralopiciaab superciliaet barba. Et propter id in enim modum uulpibus. depillantur alopibus, est, uulpium;oculi et uehementer rubent. pustulein facierubeeetquinquein eoruminflantur, totocorporeoriuntur;a quibusmanatsaniescumsanguine mixtaapparent venein pectoreetodoreorumetsudoretanhelitus fetetetdifficulter odorant; etgenetument, nasusinfrossatur; etc.3 GilbertusAnglicus,aftergivinga like account of the originof the name and of the cause of the malady--" sit autem ex sanguine corrupto et superabundante . et negligentia diete et flommie" -continues: Et eiusfacilismutatioin pallorem etremissio in ruborem.fiuntautem flaueflegmatice exterius facileac sepe maculerubore 1 See Baas, op. cit, p 231; Adams, Seven Books, II, 14 vpon Bartholome,p. 113 Cf Arnoldus de Villanova, Practica medicina, Venezia, 1494, f. g,, v,

3 Op. cit, f gl, vI. 2Batman THE MALADY OF CHAUCERS SUMMONER 401 morphearufa. et ruboresvlcerosiplurimi vene oculorumsemper etoculisemper fluidietlacrimantur etsupercilia et fereruboreprofundantur; et ingrossantur . supercilia cilia depilanturet palpebreinversantur rubeismaculisetpustulisdiffunduncorpusetfaciesquinque comprimuntur. sublucidaaliquaventuositate turcutiset caronimismollisquasisemper perlinita.1 Surely when one looks closely at the Summonerthere can be no doubt that he is afflictedwith alopicia. The pimpleswhichmight once have indicatedguttarosacea have developedinto greatpustules -"whelkes whyte" and "knobbes"--of true leprosy. His eyebrowshave nearlyall fallenout, and in place of them there is a scabby, scurfymark of a black color; his beard, too, has the scall to such an extent that it is thin and slight. The patients eyes are swollen and inflamedto a violent red, and the lids, already deprivedof lashes, are enlargedand corrugatedso that

he is able to see onlythroughnarrowslitsbetweenthem. His eyes,as Chaucer says, are "narwe." No wonder that children are afraid of his "visage"! And if one mightinterpret,in the lightof the foregoing material,the "stif burdoun" whichhe bears to the Pardonerslittle love song (C.T, A, 673) and his cryingout as if he were mad after a drinkof blood-redwine, his voice has possibly that rough and huskyquality spokenof by the medical men as an infalliblesign of a leper. Chaucer has indicated, moreover,the two principalcauses of the disease: the Summoneris "lecherous as a sparwe," and is accustomed to the eating of onions, garlic, and leeks and to the drinkingof strongwine red as blood. The rascal is eithercriminally ignorantor foolishlyindifferent;he mighthave learned fromany physicianof his time, or before,that lepra may be contractedby illicit association with women affectedby it,3 that garlic, onions, and leeks produce evil humorsin the blood, and

that red wine, of I Op. cit, f ccxl, vi 2It is interesting to note that the physiognomists also associate this sign with leprosy: "Supercilia plane depilia, Luem Veneream Leprem, vel aliam sanguinis corruptionem indicant," Rudolphus Goclenius, Phy8iognomica et Chiromantica Specialia, Hamburgi, 1661, p. 60; cf Samuelis Fvchsii Cvslino Pomerani, Metopo8copia & Ophthalmoscopia, Argentenae, 1615, p 91 3 For example see Gaddesdens chapter "De infectione ex coitu leprosi," op. cit, car. 61, r 2 Lepra and syphilis are possibly confused 402 WALTER CLYDE CURRY all others,is the most powerfuland heatingof drinks. Bartholomaeus, forexample,in his discussionof leprosysays: Also it commethof fleshlye lyking,by a womansooneafterthat a leprousman hathlaye by her. And sometimeit comethof too hot meates,as longuse of strongpepper,and of garlike,and of such other. ofcorrupt Andsometime as of meates,and ofmeatesthatbe soonecorrupt, and is infected withsuch

meselydHogges,offleshthathauepeecestherein, poisonand greines.Andofuncleanewineand corrupt He mighthave found by consultingthe Isogogeof Joannitiusthat Certainkindsofvegetables nasturproduceevilhumours;forinstance, tium,mustard,and garlicbegetreddishbile. Lentils,cabbage,and the meatof old goatsor beevesproduceblackbile.2 Paulus mighthave informedhim that The onion,garlic,leekand dog-leek. , beingof an acridnature, warmthebody,attenuateand cutthethickhumorscontained in it; when and whenunboiledtheydo not twiceboiled,theygivelittlenourishment, nourishat all. The garlicis moredeobstruent and diaphoretic thanthe in general,theraw,wheneaten,furnish others. Regarding pot-herbs worsejuicesthantheboiled,as theyhavemoreexcrementitious juice.3 Boorde furtheradds that "Onyons dothprouokea man to veneryous actes and to sompnolence,"4 and pronouncesa particularwarning: "He that is infectydwyth any of the .IIII kynds of the lepored must refraynefromal maner of wynes,& fromnew

drynkes,and strongeale; thenlet hymbewareof ryot and surfetynge." For, as Bartholomaeusputs it, "Red wine that is full redde as bloud is most strong,and grieuethmuch the head, and noieththe wit, and maketh strongdronkennesse,"6 or according to Paulus, "Wine in generalis nutritiousbut that which is red and thick is more particularlyso; but its juices are not good." The Summoner,however, has eithernot read or has treatedwithcontemptthe medicalauthorities; having once contractedthe disease by riotous and lascivious livingand by the immoderateuse of unwholesomemeats and wines, he furtheraggravatesit by the same foolhardypractices. I Batman vpon Bartholome,p. 113b 2 The Isagoge, by Joannitius (Arabic, Hunain), trans. Cholmeley, op cit, App. D, p. 145 3 Adams, Seven Books8,I, 117, 118. 4 Op. cit, pp 279, 351 Cf The Babee8 Book, ed Furnivall, pp 156, 214 5 Op. cit, p 239 6 Batman vpon Bartholome,p. 330 Adams, op. cit, I, 172, 174 ? THE MALADYOF CHAUCERSSUMMONER

403 Finally,it must be observedthat Chaucer has apparentlylifted the remedies,which he suggests have already been used in this case withouteffect,directlyfromthe medicalbooks. Thernas quik-silver, ne brimstoon, litarge, Boras,ceruce,ne oilleoftartrenoon, Ne oynement thatwoldeclenseand byte, Thathimmighte helpenofhiswhelkeswhyte. forthe cure of gutta rosacea includes"litarLanfranksprescription oleum tartarigiri, auripigmenti,sulphurisviui, viridis eris . num . argentyviui," and Guy de Chauliac would treatthe same disease with"aigre de citron,ceruse,argentvif,borax,soulphre et alun, avec huil de tartre."2 For the more violent cases of skin disordersand forleprosy,Guy recommendsthe carefuland judicious use of "le medicamentcorrosif" or perhaps of "le medicament caustique"3-to which Chaucer clearly referswhen he speaks of "oynementthat wolde clenseand byte." From the material presented in this paper it appears that Chaucers knowledgeof

medicinewas more thoroughand accurate than was once supposed.4 Indeed we may safely conclude, it seems to me, that, since he mentionsthem more or less familiarly, he was intimatelyacquainted with the works-at least with those partsrelatingto lepra-of GilbertusAnglicus,loannes de Gaddesden, ConstantinusAfricanus,Bernardus de Gordon, and Arnoldus de Villanova,and perhapswiththe writingsof BartholomaeusAnglicus and Lanfrank. But what interestsme especially is his scientific methodofemployingmedicalmaterial,thistime,forthe construction of character. I have elsewhereshownthe practical workingof the methodin several cases: the Pardoner5togetherwith the Reve and the Miller are created,both body and mind,accordingto certain 1Op. cit, p 190, and notes 2 op. cit, p 459 3 Ibid., pp 631, 633 Cf Lanfranks "Of medicyns cauteratiuis & corrosiuis," op. cit, pp 349 if The chief ingredient of these ointments is arsenic Chaucer is to be highly commended for his wisdom in ignoring the

empirical remedy composed largely of an adder, which most of the medical men employ. See Lanfrank, p 198 4 See Lounsbury, But cf. Lowes, Mod Philol, XI, Studies in Chaucer, II, 392. 391 if.; Emerson, ibid, XVII, 287; Cook, Trans. Conn Arts and Sciences, XXIII, 27, 274. Mod. Lang Notes, XXXIII, 379; Curry, Mod. Lang Notes, XXXVI, 5 "The Secret of Chaucers Jour. Eng and Germ Philol, XVIII, 593 ft. Pardoner," 6 "Chaucers Reeve and Miller," Pub. Mod Lang Assoc, XXXV, 189 ff. 404 WALTER CLYDE CURRY rules and regulationslaid downin the "science" of naturalphysiognomy; and the Wifeof Bath1is a livingembodiment,both in person and character,ofrigidlaws ofnaturalastrologyand celestialphysiognomy. In the Summonerscase, Chaucer the scientist has first created, according to the best medical authorityof his time, a that type of leprosycalled alopicia, and perfectfigurerepresenting Chaucer the poet has breathedinto it the breathof life. WALTER CLYDE VANDERBILT

UNIVERSITY 1"More about Chaucers Wife of Bath," P.MLA, XXXVI. CURRY